She believes that we take more photographs now as we can, and what we believe to be acceptable content is changing — therefore a need to adapt. Also in our over-communicated world, people are constantly trying to imitate each other. “But it’s important to understand that you can never do what someone else does and someone else cannot do what you do as long as you are honest in your work. Coming to this realisation is very liberating,” photographer Rema Chaudhary tells IANS.
Getting set for her second exhibition ‘Alone, Together’ at Method Artspace in Mumbai (April 4-April 15), which is a visual narrative by this self-proclaimed recluse of her experience when the world went into a complete lockdown, she expresses her craving for human connection during this time which compelled her to connect with her ex and eventually transformed into a series of 300 screen-shots based on their day-to-day lives in isolation.
Adding that there has been a strong change in her perspective from her first exhibition ‘The Lightness of being’, Chaudhary, who has worked with clients including Gucci and Verve says, “Before that exhibition, my work only existed in the digital realm. After the exhibition and later, a workshop on bookmaking, the way I looked at it changed. The act of taking the photograph used to be the final product for me, but now it’s become a starting point. I experimented with making my own paper, different printing and binding techniques and made tons of zines during the lockdown using my old work as the raw material. It’s a delight to see your work take different forms. I think ‘The Lightness of Being’ was representative of my style but probably didn’t reveal much about who I am as opposed to ‘Alone, Together’, where I might be giving away too much.”
While she smiles that there was no ‘re-discovery’ when she and her ex shared each others’ screen shots, Chaudhary admits that initially she did not imagine that they (screen-shots) would ultimately cumulate into an exhibition. She recalls, “There was comfort of familiarity. But to answer your question no, not for the first few months. Archiving images and screen-shots is almost an everyday event for most people now. We do it because we think something is cool or for other reasons we possibly can’t even articulate. At first, we’d just share screen-shots we liked with each other. A few months down the line when I realised we were building an archive of sorts, I asked him to share them all with me. Collecting them into folders and printing tiny versions of them, I put them up on my wall. As I was sequencing them, the narrative revealed itself and I decided to put them in a book.”
This former stock broker, who couldn’t see herself hedging stocks and dealing with numbers for the rest of her life says that photography was always something that interested her, so she decided to go study it in the US.
Talk to Chaudhary, who now plans to work on more books about her popular Instagram handle where one notices solitary women amidst nature, and she elaborates, “My need to connect with nature makes its way into my photographs. They represent what I might consider the perfect place to be or the perfect state of mind to be.”